Dostoevsky’s life was, if you’ll pardon the cliché, stranger than fiction. Born in Moscow in 1821, he was later orphaned. He was arrested for reading banned texts and for his membership in the group of writers and intellectuals known as the Petrashevsky circle. He was sentenced to death by firing squad, and spared by a last minute pardon by the Tsar. He spent 4 years in Siberian labor camp, released in 1854. He later married and found work editing a magazine with his brother, but that too...

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